Fraud losses per financial year since 2019: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

  • The total amount of money that has been lost as a result of fraud in the following financial years; 2019- 20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24
  • The total amount of money spent to retrieve the money lost to fraud in the following financial years; 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24”


All organisations to which the Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) is directly applicable, including the Scottish Government, are required to ensure that timely and effective action is taken to prevent and respond to fraud. Scottish Government’s approach to counter fraud is published in the Fraud section of the Scottish Public Finance Manual.

In answer to the first part your request, we have understood that you are looking for instances and the amount of money lost to fraud within Scottish Government Core Directorates and the bodies that fall within the Scottish Government accounting boundary (this is the coverage of the annual Scottish Government Consolidated Accounts Financial reports and accounts - Government finance - ( Scottish Government holds data centrally, collated on an annual basis, outlining fraud instances and the cost of these cases. For the following financial years, the total cases and costs are provided below:

2018-2019: 38 cases in total with an estimate of £92,000.00
2019-2020: 48 cases in total with an estimate of £185,049.00
2020-2021: 31 cases in total with an estimate of £124,489.38
2021-2022: 39 cases in total with an estimate of £147,270.40
2022-2023: 55 cases in total with an estimate of £234,656.21

The figures for the years 2023-2024 are not currently held, as totals for the current financial year will not be available until the financial year is concluded. This information will be collated after March 2024, as part of our annual fraud reporting cycle. Scottish Government does not currently hold a record of the cost for retrieving fraud losses, so we will not be able to provide the requested information for the second part of your request.

Scottish Government have also published information in our Annual Accounts for both 2020-21 pg 66 and 2021-22 pg 67 in relation to assurance surrounding ‘Fraud Estimates for Covid Grant Business Support Schemes.’ In March 2020, Scottish Ministers announced the intention to provide support grants to eligible businesses to manage the challenges impacting them as a result of the Pandemic. This funding was provided to Local Authorities or other specific public bodies to administer grants, using established capabilities including their own mature fraud prevention and detection activities. Scottish Government assessed the controls surrounding these schemes as adequate, providing reasonable assurance against fraud risk. Information relating to fraud detection and prevention rates for these schemes has not been included in the scope of this response as these schemes were administered by bodies outwith Scottish Government and have also been published separately via the Annual Accounts publications mentioned above.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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